The Apricorn Aegis Bio 3.0 ($249 list) gives you secure 256-bit AES encryption in a package that fits in a pocket. It gives you a more personal level of control than a keypad-equipped secure hard drive, yet is still easy to use. If you’re paranoid about letting your data fall in the wrong hands, or if you need to use biometrics due to company (or government) requirements, then the Aegis Bio 3.0 is a good choice for secure portable storage.
The Aegis Bio 3.0 measures about 4.75 by 3.25 by 0.75 inches (HWD) and weighs 0.43 pounds. It fits easily in the back pocket of a pair of jeans or equally well in the pocket of your commuter bag. The drive is ruggedized to take 1000G drops (while off), and comes with its USB 3.0 cable permanently attached. This means you won’t ever leave the cable plugged into your home PC when you have the drive with you in the office. The integrated cable neatly stows in a channel built into the side of the drive chassis. The plug on the drive is colored blue to prompt you to find a like colored USB 3.0 port on your PC.
The drive comes pre-formatted for NTFS, which is perfect for Windows XP/7/8, though you may need to reformat the drive if you use a Mac or Linux. Low-level functions like copy, format, and eject are independent of the security, which is nice (you don’t have install any software for it to work). When you first pull the Aegis Bio 3.0 out of the box, it prompts you to register the first fingerprint to unlock the drive. All you have to do is swipe your finger a half dozen times or so to register it on the drive. Once registered, you can register another four fingers, for a total of five. This means that you can share the drive with up to five people without having to share a password like you would with a keypad drive. Note that once you reach five fingers, you’ll have to reset the drive to register other fingers. Resetting the drive will reformat the drive, making you lose your data. You will also have to reset the drive if you want to rescind access to an existing user. All of the security features are self-contained in the drive, so user management is one area where a drive that uses administration software as on the old Maxtor BlackArmor works a bit better.
Drives like the Apricorn Aegis Padlock Pro SSD (256GB) ($500 street) and our current Editor’s Choice Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Drive ($200 list) use a keypad to control access. While this is easier, it is also inherently less secure, since a 4-digit password is easily shared. For most companies, this level of security is sufficient, but some companies are a little stricter.
The drive comes bare aside from a PDF user manual, so you’ll have the full 1TB free to do with as you wish. The drive comes with a y-shaped extension cable (in case you need to provice supplemental USB power on a low powered laptop or table) and a nylon case with a Velcro closure. Both are nice additions, particularly on a drive with a price premium. The Aegis Bio 3.0 comes with a 3-year warranty.
The Aegis Bio 3.0 is a speedy drive, taking only 17 seconds to copy our standard 1.2GB test folder. The ThinkPad Secure Drive was imperceptibly slower (18 seconds), while the Aegis Padlock Pro was quite a bit slower on USB 2.0 (41 seconds) but way quicker on eSATA (8 seconds). The Aegis Bio 3.0′s scores on PCMark 7 (1,493 points) and PCMark 5 (5,064 points on a different scale) were close to the ThinkPad Secure Drive on USB 3.0 and the Aegis Padlock Pro on eSATA. For speed comparison purposes the three are close competitors on their fastest interface.
The Aegis Bio 3.0 is a biometric drive for a very specialized (or very paranoid) user. If you need to do real cloak and dagger stuff, or if your company mandates that you need reliable biometric security, then the Aegis Bio 3.0 is the drive you want. The Lenovo ThinkPad Secure drive holds on to its Editors’ Choice by being a more flexible choice for most businesses, but if you absolutely need security tied to specific users, then the Aegis Bio 3.0 is the drive to carry in your commute bag.
Compare the Apricorn Aegis Bio 3.0 with several other hard drive side by side.
More hard drive reviews:
|Rotation Speed||5400 rpm|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1000 GB|
|Ports||USB, USB 2.0, USB 3.0|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc